The Desperate Housewife figures she's done doing favors for Emerson, 12, for about a decade
Credit: Lisa Rose/JPI; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Teri Hatcher doesn’t like to spoil her 12-year-old daughter Emerson. But this was pretty big.

“I got her a chance to get a picture with Justin Bieber,” Hatcher, 45, told PEOPLE in New York at Wednesday’s Digital Content Newfront Conference launch of her new Web site, GetHatched. “That was a highlight, and I scored some big points with her.”

Um, you think? The Desperate Housewives star figures she’s now covered in the favors department for, oh, probably a decade. “I told her, ‘That’s it, nothing else until your wedding. There’s nothing between Justin Bieber and after college,’ ” she said with a laugh.

GetHatched is described as “a chick’s guide to life.” In Hatcher’s case, it’s a life split between being a single mom and a successful actress. Her biggest secret in balancing those two selves, she tells PEOPLE, is by focusing on one role at a time.

“There are times when I really need to separate those – just be the worker or just be the mom,” she says. “Too often, I think, women try to do everything at the same time. I have friends that are technically driving their kids to school but also looking at their BlackBerry and trying to deal with office messages.”

That kind of multitasking, she says, causes both work and family to suffer. “The stress on the kids and yourself, and not being able to be there for anybody wholly at the moment, is a disservice to us, and I think we are better off compartmentalizing,” she says. “It’s hard, but it does work for me.”